Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Readers' Comments


Mea culpa.  I screwed up:

From Arthur:

Hi Otto

Just a comment I thought our Spring starts on the 1st September not the 1st August please check thanks

From Kerrie:

Hi Otto,

Just a small correction - Wattle Day was moved to 1st September a few years ago. Each state had a different day so the Commonwealth declared 1st September as Wattle Day (1st day of spring).

From me:

In 1992, 1 September was formally declared 'National Wattle Day' by the Minister for the Environment, Mrs Ros Kelly at a ceremony at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Another wattle item: 

As previously noted, in Australia Acacias are commonly referred to as wattles.

The term “wattle and daub” refers to a wall building procedure whereby a woven lattice of wooden strips, called “wattle”,  is “daubed”  with a sticky material, usually a mix of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw.  The technique dates back at least 6,000 years.

The word “wattle” originates from the Old English “watol”, meaning a “hurdle”, which also comes  from gthe Old English “hyrdel”, meaning a frame of intertwined twigs.  From this the word wattle came to mean stakes interlaced with twigs and forming the framework of the wall of a building.

Wattle and daub was a common building technique in the Australian bush from the time that the colony was founded in 1788.  The Acacia trees were prolific and admirably suited for such use.  The daub usually consisted of a mixture of earth, water and grass.

It can be seen in the following photograph dating from 1871 in the gold mining town of Hill End:

It is believed that the Australian Acacia trees became known as Wattle because of their widespread use in wattle and daub construction, the branches being ideal for forming the wattles in this method of housing.

From Robyn:


I just loved the Sugglepot and Cuddlepie stories and illustrations when I was an ankle biter. The Banksia men were really scary


Yesterday I mentioned that May Gibbs was the author of children’s stories that featured bush dwelling babies known as gumnut babies.  Sometimes they wore wattle flowers.

The bad guys in those stories were the Banksia men.  Banksia are various varieties of Australian trees and shrubs characterised by flower spikes and fruiting "cones" and heads.   

The cones are ugly:

The villainous Banksia men are uglier:

Many an Australian child has grown up, if not traumatised by the Banksia men, then at least scared enough not to want to go into the garden at night, especially in the days of outdoor toilets.

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